Thursday, September 18, 2014

from shaky faith to renewal in Christ...


It's funny (well not "funny" really, but you know what I mean) how something like being pregnant can take your faith and shake it all around. I mean, flip it upside-down and leave your head spinning. 

Let's go back in time to before Bill and I found out the amazing news. I really was slowly and gradually walking up the steep mountain of learning about the wonderful Lord (I imagine the Price is Right Cliff Hanger, mountain climber game) and His merciful ways. Sure there were downs and slower times, but it was a nice, gentle, gradual climb up. I loved learning about Him, reading about His mercies...finding convictions in myself, changing, being molded more and more like Him. So I went from that to turning off the road and jumping face first off the cliff, plummeting to my demise. 

You see before Baby Main things were pretty normal and steady for us. Super steady. We knew how much money was coming in each month, how much was going out, no doubt about how long we'd be able to afford where we lived. We knew what our weeks looked like, what our weekends would most likely entail, what my days consisted of, etc. We've lived like this for about 4 solid years now. In all honesty, we got comfy. 

Insert baby in belly. 

From the day we found out, every single day thence forward has been different. Dramatically different. Our comfy cocoon was rocked and rattled to the core. We are now sitting here with no idea about our expenses and finances and no idea what we're going to do once Baby Main gets here. I also literally have no idea what my days look like! Am I going to be sick all day? Will I feel totally great and go for a long walk with a friend? IF I was able to make dinner, will the dinner I made my husband even taste good come 6 o'clock. Will we hang out this next weekend or will I sleep it away all grouchy and hot? Heck, will I even fit in my beloved Levi jeans tomorrow? Every single aspect of our life has unquestionably changed. 

Every aspect but God. 

But I didn't see it that way. 

I found myself in a sort of daze. Some days were better than others, but on average I'd sort of just "go through the motions" of my daily responsibilities, not really giving anything my real attention and love. In my head, while doing these things, I was burning the candle at both ends trying to figure out how everything was "going to work out". 

Days turned into weeks and weeks now into months. My old man/old self was ever so ready to come running into my head and my heart, and clean house of all the amazing work the Lord had done in my life over the last few years. Gosh, I needed to be in control. I needed to figure things out. My type A personality just had to sit down with charts and graphs and try and figure out on paper how everything was going to work. Then the doubt crept in: How would all this work? How will we be ok? It's not going to work. We're going to be stuck in this one bedroom apartment with a 5 year old! He won't help us...... Silly me. The Lord never works in ways our brains can "figure out". Being a slow leak it wasn't until recently that I even noticed "something was different or "up" with myself". But, still a selfish wicked sinner, I didn't pay it real attention and put it on the back burner. Because you know, I had work to do. My days went from being pretty calm and trusting in the Lord to needing to search Craigslist for apartments everyday. From being in the word pretty consistently to vegging out on the couch in a slump because I just couldn't see how this was going to work out. I couldn't figure it out. I started to get really sad and continued down the sinful "downward spiral". I was convinced He wasn't listening. I needed to fix it all now and figure it all out. But I couldn't. I would reach out to friends and family and ask for prayers for provision and guidance...but inside I was drained. 

The amazing part is, He never left me. He was always right there, answering my laments and prayers, speaking to me through His word (whenever I was in it). Little things here and there- sermons, songs, friends and so on. And, He was consistently answering me with, "I will take care of you. You only need to be still. Trust in Me. It might not look like what YOU think is right, but it will be perfect. Come back to me and rest in me. These responsibilities are not for you to worry about." I did take notice, shaking my head, "Yeah yeah I know Lord. I hear ya. But WHEN? HOW?" Ugh.

The other morning (this part is really "funny") I finally got to a point where I was asking the Lord to REALLY show in me where I'm failing/sinning/creating idols/putting Him second. I earnestly (first time in a while) asked him to search my heart and expose any darkness. And here we are mere days later. I'm just in awe of the work that's been done. 

He shook me to my core in a way so tender and SO perfectly Christina. Friends, He came around the back door so gently and lovingly, exposed my selfish and idolatrous sin without shame, answered those prayers I had prayed days earlier so sweetly, and then blessed Bill and I both through a wonderful family member in Christ. This blessing, I mean it seriously knocked me right off my high horse. Naturally I started to pray, but realized I didn't even know how to pray about such a thing when I was so ashamed of who I had allowed myself to become so quickly. But shoot The Lord was so. dang. good. The Holy Spirit to be exact. A sister's kindness, the Lord's provision and mercy, it brought out of me a repentance that had been buried deep down for a while. Months actually. It caused me before even getting to the "Thank you Father" part to literally become humbled and cry to the Lord for forgiveness of my wicked wicked untrusting, doubting selfish heart. And I thank Him for that. Thank you Father for community, for brothers and sisters in Christ who read scripture and believe it! 

"For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!"
-Ecclesiastes 4:10

Why am I telling you this? It's not to say, "Look at us! We got a blessing! We're amazing! It was awesome! Everything is awesome (insert Lego Movie song here) and we're going to be 100% fine and dandy now for the rest of our lives forever, blah blah blah." I'm telling you this because I want to confess to you all my wicked heart. Because behind the pretty fonts, prints, colors, recipes and pictures of this blog, I am a sinner and I (once again) desperately needed Jesus. Because, friends- I hope that my hard learning and refining through the fire would encourage us all to not lose hope or lose who God has made us into when things get hard or uncomfy or heck- even just different. We were meant to grow and bend with the Lord through trying times after this world fell. He never intended us to live in a world the way it is, but sin changed that. So we deal biblically and move on. May we all remember, our sovereign Father doesn't work like we work. He doesn't think or act in ways we would! But we're told to:
(Please head on over to my dear friend's site and get this print!)

We are called to be steadfast in our faith, patently enduring the evil that surrounds us. 

"Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world."
-1 Peter 5:9

"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven."
-Colossians 1: 21-23

"Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil."
-2 Timothy 2: 21-24

(I know this specific verse like the back of my hand. How quickly I forget it when times get weird or rough.)

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
-Colossians 3:2

We're not to turn away from everything we have learned. I allowed all my Bible 101 knowledge to fly right out the window. I allowed sin and doubt and distrust to creep in and make itself a comfy home in my heart. Why would I do such a thing when in reality I know the Lord loves me, loves Bill and loves little Baby Main, whom He created from the very beginning?

Friends, let's stand firm in the hope we have in Christ and grab onto His truths like our lives depend on it (because they do!) Let's DAILY arm ourselves with His glorious armor (Ephesians 6: 10-20), which was made perfectly to defend against the snares of the devil who, is like a creeping lion, ready to pounce on us at any sign of weakness. Don't let doubt creep into and erode what the Lord has sovereignly and mercifully built inside of you. Don't let it fly out the window as soon as things aren't going "your way". Friends, our way...it's nothing compared to the glorious ways of our Father. 

As the amazing Tim Keller once said, "God would answer all of your prayers exactly like we would answer all our prayers if we knew what He knew." Let that nugget sink into your heart.


6 comments:

  1. I just tried this (sorta), I made a few lazy-person adjustments, so it's not quite the same, but it did turn out great!
    adjustments: bring about 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup almonds, simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add another cup water, blend again, until smooth. Cover medium sized bowl with dish towel, pour mixture through dish towel, then squeeze trapped solids, in order to release excess liquid.
    I then froze the pretty much perfectly crumbled almond solids to use for baking later, and put the milk in the fridge in a tupperware (after pouring a glass with some protein powder), and it really is delicious!!!

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  2. Yikes, you really need to drain off that soaking water and start with fresh. Almonds (and their tannic skins) are extremely high in phytic acid. Google it. You might feel ok with this milk for a while, but it is not a healthy long range choice, especially in the quantities you're using each day.

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